|I’m a fan of Marc Jackson‘s work. You may be able to tell. His frantic style and glorious sense of humour have lit up countless books. And now, with his latest he’s taking on Stranger Things and classic 1980s weird.
Eric is an inventor, brilliant, gifted, and a little off kilter. Bud, his best friend, is the Beaker to his Bunsen. As the series opens, Eric’s had an idea to short-circuit the creative process and suck the brilliant comic ideas out of Bud’s head. This involves a Brain-Hat and, brilliantly, the words BRAIN-HAT! written across the page in exuberantly massive lettering. it doesn’t go well, they have a bit of an argument but reunite along with friend, Nelli for their next adventure. You see, there’s something in the woods…
|This panel tells you everything you need to know. Marc’s raucous, kinetic style is on display, the characters are all joyously individual and vibrant and the color scheme cleverly picks out essentials like the skateboards and the pumpkin. Plus, missing Golden Girls. That’s dedication.
The story itself is slight but it’s also paced for a multi-part story and that’s a crucial change for Marc. Most of his previous work has either been one shots or stories that unfold in discreet parts. This is a straight up and down multi-part serial and it moves like it too. We get characters, set up, inciting incident and enough energy to hurl us onto the next one. This may look simple but it’s anything of the sort.
Plus it doesn’t actually look that simple. Marc excels at character design and each one here sparks with the same restless energy and enthusiasm. Eric is an unusually likable boy genius, Bud has surprising agency and Nelli, while slight so far is an excellent foil to both of them. Their central character dynamic powers the book and crucially also gives it scale. These are normal, likable, recognizable kids. Which makes the trouble they get into all the more high stakes.
Marc is one of the best in the UK and this is some of his best yet. Funny, frantic and sweet it’s available now.